Exculpatory Clauses

News & Analysis as of

New Jersey Companies Face Significant Class Action Risks When Using Limiting or Exculpatory Language in Consumer Contracts

A federal judge in Camden, N.J., recently granted class certification in a case brought under the Truth in Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (“TCCWNA”). The class is made up of individuals who signed lease agreements...more

Exculpatory Clauses In Trust Documents Are “Somewhat” Enforceable In Texas

It is common for settlors to execute trust documents that contain exculpatory clauses. An exculpatory clause is one that forgives the trustee for some action or inaction. For example, a common exculpatory clause may state...more

Court of Chancery Again Explains Claim Against An Investment Banker

In this unusual factual circumstance, the Court denied a motion to dismiss a claim against an investment banker for aiding and abetting a board’s alleged breach of its duty to act with care. Note that the board itself was...more

"Delaware Supreme Court Reaffirms Important Protections for Corporate Directors"

A trio of opinions from the Delaware Supreme Court, each authored by Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Jr., has reaffirmed Delaware’s deference to the business judgment of disinterested corporate decision-makers and restored...more

Delaware Court of Chancery Cautions Directors: Be Vigilant in Recognizing Advisor’s Conflict of Interests

Shareholders challenged the merger of Zale Corporation with Signet Jewelers Ltd. In a decision dated October 1, 2015, the Delaware Court of Chancery credited allegations that the board of directors of Zale breached its...more

What's Market? Update: Delaware Corporate and M&A

Fee Shifting and Forum Selection Clauses - Much attention has been paid to Delaware legislative developments regarding fee shifting and forum selection clauses. On June 24, 2015, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed...more

Update from Wilson Elser’s D&O Insurance Digest

Litigation Developments and Mega Settlements - Dole Food, Inc. Derivative Action – Delaware Chancery Court Finds D&Os Engaged in Fraud - Dole Food, Inc. shareholders sued Dole Chairman and CEO David Murdock and Dole...more

Fourth Circuit: Business Judgment Rule May Not Protect Bank Officers in FDIC Action

Why it matters - Bank officers may be liable in a lawsuit brought by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) while the directors escaped liability, in a new ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals interpreting...more

FTC Wins Lawsuit Over Its Robocall Contest

In 2012, the FTC sponsored a contest in which it invited contestants to submit their best solutions to block robocalls. After reviewing almost 800 entries, the FTC announced two winners. As we posted previously, though, one...more

Provisions in Contest Rules are Held Enforceable

In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sponsored the “Robocall Challenge,” a contest whereby the agency invited contestants to develop a solution to the consumer problem of automated “robocalls.” One contestant, David...more

Delaware Supreme Court Rejects Presumption of Disloyalty for Independent Directors

Public companies incorporated in Delaware frequently adopt a charter provision, pursuant to 8 Del. C. § 102(b)(7), that insulates their directors from monetary damages for breaches of the fiduciary duty of care. Those...more

IRS Ruling Addresses LLC Eligibility for Cancellation of Debt Exception

In new CCA 201525010, the IRS addressed the issue of whether a general “exculpatory” debt of an LLC is recourse or non-recourse for purposes of classifying debt-relief as potential cancellation of debt (COD) income. Recourse...more

FCPA Compliance and Ethics Report-Episode 169-the First Mailbag Issue [Video]

In this inaugural Mailbag Episode, I field questions from an earlier podcast on the training of third parties under the FCPA. ...more

Before Rapunzel There Was Rudabeh

In Koehler v. NetSpend Holdings, Inc., 2013 Del. Ch. LEXIS 131 (Del. Ch. May 21, 2013), Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III wrote “In fact, NetSpend appears more Rapunzel than Penelope; she must, it seems, let down her hair or...more

'Cornerstone' Decision Reinforces Del. Corporate Law Bedrock Principles

Delaware law has long provided that the decisions of disinterested and independent directors who receive no special benefit from a transaction ought not be the basis of personal liability in monetary damages. To subject...more

Exculpatory Provisions Provide Powerful Protection for Independent Directors

The Delaware Supreme Court recently issued an important decision clarifying the standards that govern claims for money damages against independent directors of corporations whose charters contain exculpatory provisions....more

Delaware Supreme Court Holds That Plaintiffs Must Specifically Plead Non-Exculpated Claims Against Disinterested Directors in...

In In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. Stockholder Litigation/Leal v. Meeks, the Delaware Supreme Court reversed decisions of the Delaware Chancery Court denying director-defendants’ motions to dismiss breach of fiduciary...more

Delaware Supreme Court Preserves Benefit of Exculpatory Provisions for Independent Directors at Motion to Dismiss Stage

A recent decision by the Delaware Supreme Court provides independent directors, such as special committee members, with the ability to escape protracted fiduciary duty litigation during its initial stages. The court’s...more

Delaware Supreme Court Holds That a Stockholder Plaintiff Must Plead a Non-Exculpated Claim to Avoid Section 102(b)(7)-Based...

In the consolidated appeal In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc., Stockholder Litigation and In re Zhongpin Stockholders Litigation, Nos. 564, 2014 and 706, 2014, 2015 Del. LEXIS 231 (Del. May 14, 2015), the Delaware Supreme...more

Important Delaware Supreme Court ruling on use of charter provision to seek preliminary dismissal – 3 key takeaways

In a decision jointly resolving two appeals - In re Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. Stockholder Litigation and Leal v. Meeks - the Delaware Supreme Court clarified seemingly conflicting Delaware case law. The decision sought to...more

Supreme Court Clarifies When Independent Directors May Be Dismissed From Case

This important Supreme Court decision clarifies when independent, disinterested directors may be dismissed from litigation, even when an interested transaction is under attack. When the complaint only alleges a breach of the...more

Delaware Supreme Court Clarifies Pleading Standard For Claims Against Independent Directors

Yesterday, in In re Cornerstone Therapeutics, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, the Supreme Court of Delaware held that plaintiffs seeking monetary damages against disinterested, independent directors must plead facts sufficient...more

Delaware Supreme Court Confirms Exculpatory Clauses Have Teeth, and Can Be Used By Director Defendants At The Pleading Stage

In a decision with important implications for directors of public companies, the Delaware Supreme Court overturned two Chancery Court opinions and ruled that independent directors facing breach of duty of care claims arising...more

Delaware Supremes Give Independent Directors a Way Out

In an opinion Thursday, the Delaware Supreme Court held that independent directors should be dismissed from shareholder derivative litigation – even over transactions presumptively subject to “entire fairness” review – unless...more

M&A Update: Delaware Supreme Court Issues Important Ruling Protecting Independent Directors

On May 14, 2015, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that claims against independent directors must be dismissed when a company charter provision shields directors from monetary liability for breach of the duty of care and the...more

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